The 37km beautiful mountain pass between Barberton and the Josefsdal border post with Swaziland has been developed as a geological tourism route named the Barberton Makhonjwa Geotrail. It is a self-drive trail that provides information about the area’s remarkable geology at twelve landscaped lay-bys along the tarred road. Interpretative panels have been combined with rock specimens or geological features that tell the story of how the early Earth evolved some 3.6 billion years ago.
The route is further linked to the Barberton Gateways in town that draw their design inspiration from the local outsider artist Nukain Mabuza’s colorful painted rock garden at Revolver Creek. It also forms part of what has been coined the Genesis Route, another scenic self-drive that snakes like a figure 8 through the mountains connecting Barberton, Badplaas and Low’s Creek. These three tourism facilities have been developed by the BATOBIC Programme, a project of the Barberton Chamber of Business, funded by the National Department of Tourism and the Chamber.
It has been done in the context of the already tentatively listed Barberton Greenstone Belt becoming Mpumalanga Province’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This geological formation that is home to some of the best preserved Archaean rocks in the world contains significant geological heritage sites that enable scientists to understand the early Earth processes. The Geotrail’s education component and popularisation serves as mechanisms that make it possible for the general public to recognise the value of geoheritage.
A fifty-page guidebook that expands upon the geology and Geotrail is available at the Barberton Tourism Office in town. Click here to download